Are Local Police Spying On Your Phone?
Based on news reports and publicly available information the infographic below shows where the various 57 agencies who have purchased and use stingray cell tower mimic devices to spy on cellphone and text conversations. These agencies are spread across 22 states and undoubtedly are just a small fraction of the actual number of agencies using devices to spy on cellphones.
Whats a stingray?
A stingray device works by pretending to be a cell tower. Most of our phones will automatically search for better signals so if a stingray device is providing a better looking signal to your phone then it will automatically connect to it. When your phone connects in through one of these imposters, all the encryption normal cell towers use is rendered useless. This means the man in the middle can read your texts, listen to your calls and snoop on your cellphone.
This information is usually dismissed as no big deal, as all of the agencies claim that they do not use their stingray devices to spy on phones without a court order. Considering that information provided by stingray surveillance is never used in court as evidence, and 95% of court cases settle with a plea deal. Instead the trend among this agencies is to conceal their purchase and use of stingray devices, This means they probably use stingrays to casually listen in on texts and calls even if its just out of boredom to gather leads and information. Once they learn something they then go and try to gather alternate evidence to prove the same thing, thus concealing the fact a stingray is even part of the picture.
It is likely that countless local law enforcement is using federal grants to get these things. Chances are your local and state police are enjoying these new toys.